Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RAISING THE BAR; Florida Coastal Students Score First-Time Bar-Takers from the Law School Did Best in School's History

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

RAISING THE BAR; Florida Coastal Students Score First-Time Bar-Takers from the Law School Did Best in School's History

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH R. SAMORAJ

Florida Coastal School of Law is raising the bar - the Bar exam, that is.

The for-profit Jacksonville school's most recent Bar results for first-time takers is the highest in its 11-year history, said Brooks Terry, the school's director of marketing and communications. Its pass rate of 84 percent exceeds the state's average, which is 80.

Florida Coastal students have consistently done well on the exam, even placing first among all the other law schools in the state in 2005. Though the school prides itself on its Bar pass percentages, it also prides itself for being a strong contender in moot competitions.

Though the school placed sixth out of the 10 law schools in the state this Bar exam, it doesn't mean Coastal was far from the top, Terry said.

"One or two students passing makes a huge impact on the school's percentage," he said. "The top six schools are very closely lumped together by only a few percentage points."

If two more students from Coastal had passed, the school would be ranked above the University of Florida, Terry said. And if seven more would have passed, then the school would have placed higher than Florida State University, which placed first in the state.

The Bar exam isn't the only area Coastal is succeeding at. It has won the prestigious statewide moot court competition three consecutive times, taking top honors, the school reported in a news release. The region finals were judged by members of the Florida Supreme Court May 11.

The school defeated teams from UF, the University of Miami, Florida International University, Stetson and FSU, which are the schools that placed ahead of Coastal in the recent Bar results. Florida Coastal's moot court team advanced to the finals in Washington and was ranked among the top 10 teams in the world, Terry said.

Florida Coastal is one of three for-profit law schools operated by InfiLaw Corp., according to its Web site. The others are the Phoenix School of Law and the Charlotte School of Law.

Michael Orr, a 2005 graduate from Florida Coastal and an associate at Marshall and Dennehey's Jacksonville office, said it's no surprise that the Jacksonville school has succeeded as well as it has.

The open-door policy Florida Coastal initiates makes it easy for students to talk with professors as well as the dean, which has led to students' and the school's success, Orr said.

Florida Coastal has a unique relationship that other law schools don't offer, said Margaret Dees, the director of institutional advancement. The close collaboration between students and professors is something you don't find in other places.

"We're confident the success of our students as they enter the legal profession will continue to tell our story," Terry said.

sarah.samoraj@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4288

A CONSISTENT RECORD

Florida Coastal School of Law's students have done consistently well with the Bar exam. …

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